Book 5, Chapter 56

A Realistic Dream

At the Godtear Rift, Richard led Senma and the rest of his followers to inspect the terrain. This valley was ridiculously huge, a hundred metres below ground on average with the lowest point being nearly a kilometre deep. The rivers of the north formed rapids that disappeared into the depths, re-emerging in the southern part of the continent. These waters never froze even in the depths of winter, but cascading mist normally rose hundreds of metres into the air when the plane was at its coldest.

At both ends of the valley were small mountain ranges that blocked any seawater from entering the lowlands. This was a rather peculiar formation that Richard couldn’t understand; it was nearly impossible for such a thing to be natural. After two whole days studying the nearby terrain, he concluded that the ten-kilometre-wide mountain range was just packed far too neatly to be anything but dams.

Even as someone who had woken up to the magnificence of Floe Bay for five whole years, Richard was not prepared for the sight of the ocean here. The water was a dark blue bordering black, almost as though light couldn’t touch the world under the waves. The horizon stretched out to seemingly no end, falling away into the sky in a blur of darkness.

The wind was so cold that it felt like every breath would freeze as it left the body. Such temperature would have frozen the entirety of Floe Bay over, but here one couldn’t even see the slightest signs of ice.

He looked back, only to find his followers shrinking into themselves from the cold. Olar was even wrapping himself up tighter in his clothes. A constant feeling of wrongness had caused him to forbid them from using any spells or skills at the seaside. The mountains just seemed to fragile, and he couldn’t even judge the depth of the sea they were looking down at.

An unfreezing ocean sounded great at first, but the lack of marine life was extremely disconcerting. One could only see the dark sea, dark clouds, and whistling dark winds when they looked outwards.

For a moment, the winds seemed to whisper words. The grayscale landscape warped into a painting from the grandest of artists, and standing hundreds of metres above the sea it was like the mountain cliff had been cut out by a knife. The waves weren’t as turbulent as one would expect, but a deep thunderous drone from the spray constantly rang within one’s ears.

As a few drops of water fell on his face, Richard grew more and more disturbed by the sight. He noticed a slight discolouration to the water, indicating an unimaginable current underneath. Any creature that dared to traverse this ocean would most certainly die. There wasn’t even the slightest hint of life energy from the sea to the sky, making the entire plane look like a cold, indifferent world.

Richard almost lost track of time. All he could see was the depths of the night, an empty space all around him that seemed to separate him from the infinite planes. It was like he was the last life in the world.His heart started beating faster, but then it clenched up.

The bitter chill of a sudden gust finally pulled him back to reality, causing his entire body to tremble with fear. Cold sweat formed on his brow as he realised what had just happened; the magnificent scene had such an impact that burrowed into one’s very soul.

Looking around, he noticed that Flowsand, Io, and Nyra weren’t doing well either. His other followers were suffering as well, but none of them as much as him. Only Senma and Lina looked completely normal; they had likely experienced this place before. However, Senma’s face had a strange expression as she looked at him.

“This ocean is strange,” Richard said with lingering fear, mobilising his boiling Archeron blood to dry the sweat. The impact of the view had been almost too strong, making him lose track of time for a moment. It felt like just those few seconds were a thousand years. If not for his blessing of truth, there would have been a chance for him to lose himself in that feeling.

The biggest danger of losing oneself to a feeling of altered time was that one’s soul would age accordingly. The body would be fine, but when the will driving it started to crumble apart there would be nothing he could do.

While the feeling of danger had come and gone quickly for Richard, his followers were still immersed in the shock. However, a cursory glance told him that all of them were still conscious and not dazed.

“Lord Gaton said this sea has some sort of strange power that impacts the souls of the strong,” Senma explained, “The more potential one has in the future, the greater the impact they feel. However, so long as their will is firm the shock will not hurt much. There should be nothing to worry about.”

“It shouldn’t hurt? Did Gaton really say that?” Richard asked with a brow raised.

Senma was a little confused by Richard’s reaction, but she nodded, “Yes. We even use this place to test the potential of young officers, seeing the extent of the impact here. Anyone who feels the discomfort has potential for development.”

“Does this happen along the entire coast?”

“No, as far as we can tell it is only on the mountains on each end of the Godtear Rift.”

Richard nodded and went silent, staring at the sea and thinking hard. Gaton wasn’t the kind to make mistakes, so this place really should pose no problem. However, he could also confirm that the danger of losing himself felt real. The only explanation was a powerful illusion hiding the threat, which explained why even saints wouldn’t feel it.

It was like someone standing on a branch stretching out from a cliff. So long as they believed they were still on the cliff, they wouldn’t feel any real sense of danger. However, his blessing of truth allowed him to notice that he was on that branch. The moment he saw through, he swayed in fear and this caused the branch to shake as well. From one point of view, the danger only existed because he could feel it.

He still remembered the events that had led to acquiring the blessing of truth in the first place. It hadn’t been an option to take, but a mysterious voice had spoken to him and given it because of what he desired. He hadn’t understood its words then, but now he knew just what a different perspective meant. Alucia’s other blessings, including Wisdom, seemed to be less important than Truth when he had first been given the option to choose. Now, he knew that they represented lesser laws.

Still, he quickly organised his thoughts and nodded quietly, “It’s a good place, we should send all the rune knight candidates through here to test them. Anyway, let’s go back.”

It was technically possible to cross the mountains to get to the other side of the continent, but unpredictable winds were always blowing through the area. These winds could be weak one moment and unbearably powerful the next, knocking anyone trying to cross into the river valley. Although the black water looked calm, one could not underestimate the dangers that lay within.

The mountain range itself was a few kilometres wide, with natural pits and rock formations everywhere. If one wasn’t careful and slipped in the thick snow, death was all but guaranteed. Even mounted knights couldn’t resist the wind easily, so this made the dangers all the more prevalent.

One might think it a good idea to gather the entire army together and have them cross in one go, but that had its own sets of dangers. The winds could potentially become strong enough to push thousands off the pass at once, and even legendary powerhouses couldn’t easily resist such power while protecting their quarry. Even if one crossed, the terrain on the other side was too complicated for an army to pass without casualties. Overall, upto a third of the army would end up dead before they even got to the other side.

Small parties of elites could still cross over without facing too much danger, but the Resting Orchid plane still had legendary beings to fight off any such squad. One of the two legends was injured, but the other was strong enough to at least rebuff raiding saints. As such, the only way to cross was the central bridge.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo